Undigested food in stool

Undigested food in stools can be a troublesome thing, and many parents do not know what to do about it. Let Dr Dan Thomas, MD explain what you should and should not worry about in regards to unigested food in stools.
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Undigested food in stool

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As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I'm asked frequently, and people bring their child into our office, because they are concerned that their toddler is passing what looks like undigested food into their stool. They want to know, is this normal, is there something wrong with their digestion and what they should do about it. More importantly, should they change their diet? The answer is, no. This is a common problem that happens a lot is actually pretty normal. The reason it is normal is that, if you think about it, before you are toilet trained, you just poop when you need to poop. Whatever you have eaten doesn't sit in the colon very long; therefore, the colon and the bacteria in the colon don't digest it very well. It comes out and you can see it intact. After you are potty trained, you only go to the bathroom once or twice a day and these things sit in your colon. When they sit in your colon, the bacteria and other digestive enzymes sit in there and further digest it and you don't see it so much, if you are toilet trained and you have a bowel movement. You see the oddest things in your poop and your toddlers poop. My daughter will probably kill me for saying this, but my wife and I were changing her diaper one day and she had an intact chaquita banana sticker in her poop. We were kind of wondering if she ate the entire banana or what. That just illustrates some of the oddest things and things you shouldn't be worried about, if your child has undigested food or material in their poop.

Undigested food in stools can be a troublesome thing, and many parents do not know what to do about it. Let Dr Dan Thomas, MD explain what you should and should not worry about in regards to unigested food in stools.

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Dan Thomas, MD

Pediatrician, Gastroenterology & Nutrition, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Dan Thomas is the Head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, and Medical Director of Liver and Small Bowel Transplantation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Thomas presently serves on the Editorial Review Board of Pediatrics in Review and is on the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics. His primary clinical and academic interests include the care and study of children with congenital or acquired intestinal, pancreatic and hepatobiliary disorders.

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